From the blog

Surgical Techniques for Mesothelioma

Published: April 27, 2017

While surgical techniques are not the most common effort when it comes to treating mesothelioma, the pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) is a technique that has been the most successful over the years. A recent study took a look at the different surgical techniques that can be used with P/D and noted the overall effects on the patient.

A P/D is a two part surgery that involves the removal of the lining of the lungs (pleurectomy) and the removal of tumors inside the chest cavity (decortication). It is also referred to the “lung-sparing surgery” because the lungs are not removed. P/D is performed on patients who are in the early stages of cancer and in good overall health. The long latency period between asbestos exposure and illnesses typically means that victims of asbestos exposure are not diagnosed until the cancer or disease is advanced. This makes surgery such as the P/D a limited option. However, successful surgeries usually result an increase in life – span  especially when the surgery is paired with chemotherapy or radiation.

In the recent study published in the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, researchers’ main objective was to study the outcome after a multimodality treatment involving different types of P/D along with the analysis of prognostic factors.

Over the course of seven years, from 2007 to 2014, 314 patients were operated on that had malignant pleural mesothelioma. One hundred sixty-two of the patients underwent an extended P/D (EP/D), 115 patients had P/D, and 37 patients received a partial pleurectomy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was given to 57% of the patients and adjuvant radiotherapy was given in 39.2% of the patients.

Results showed that the average overall survival of the surgery was 23%. Results also showed that early results and survival rates were good, regardless if the procedure was P/D or EP/D. Unfortunately; a partial pleurectomy had no positive impact on survival.

There is no cure for mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Its aggressive nature makes it difficult to treat, but scientists and researchers are continually developing and testing new techniques and exploring more options – especially when it comes to surgery. To find out more about the latest testing and results, visit



Marulli G. et. al., “Pleurectomy-decortication in malignant pleural mesothelioma: are different surgical techniques associated with different outcomes? Results from a multicentre study” European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (April 2017). [Link]

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